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Did the Binance Breach Really Occur, And Who is to Blame if it Did?

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On August 7, Binance is the world largest cryptocurrency exchange as at today (based on its 24hrs trade volume), was reported to have been hacked. This was said to have occurred when an unscrupulous person had gained access to a massive chunk of the Exchangers Know Your Customer (KYC) data. The hacker was reported to have demanded 300 Bitcoins (which is worth approximately $3.5 million as at the time of this report) after gaining access to about 10,000 personal photos from the Exchanger’s website, threatening to release all the data at his disposal.

It is noteworthy to state that the perpetrator of this hack had set up a couple of dedicated telegram groups where he was said to have allegedly released these sensitive materials. Although the group has since shut down permanently, the Exchanger had taken drastic measures to nail any further moves by other miscreants. However, seeing that there were no digital watermarks, there are no doubts regarding the authenticity of this material. The Binance security team had a follow up with an official statement:

“At the present time, no evidence has been supplied that indicates any KYC images have been obtained from Binance, as these images do not contain the digital watermark imprinted by our system.”

The CEO of Binance sent out a tweet:

The cryptocurrency Exchanger had claimed that all the images that have been released so far could be dated back to February and that this stunt was simply old news with a new spin, a time when the Exchanger was still making use of third party service to be able to provide KYC services. The Exchange had also tried to get the supposed perpetrator to disclose how he gained access to pull off the breach or give any irrefutable evidence to his claims, instead, he simply continued to demand 300BTC which further leads us to believe that this might have just been a bluff

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Antivirus Firm, ESET Gives warning over Trojanized Tor Browser Targeting Bitcoin Users

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Antivirus Software supplier firm ESET has given warning
about a trojanized Tor Browser which criminals use to exploit people and steal their Bitcoin.

The criminals using a modified (infected) version of the official Tor Browser package, steal bitcoins from darknet market buyers.

According to ESET, the cybercriminals have gotten access to more than $40,000 in Bitcoin.

The infected Tor Browser has been spreading using two websites claiming to distribute the official Russian language version of the Browser. Once the first website (torproect.org) is opened, visitors are shown a message that their version of Tor is outdated.

“Your anonymity is in danger!

WARNING: Your Tor Browser is outdated

Click the button “Update”

An unsuspecting visitor is immediately redirected to another website (tor-browser.org) if he clicks to update, where he will be able to download the infected Tor browsers.

ESET reports the website only has a Windows OS Version.

The two websites were created in 2014 with the first one appearing exactly like the official torproject.org website.

In order to continue stealing from their victims, the criminals deactivated function that allows users to update their Tor Browsers to the latest version which would render the attackers efforts useless.

With extensive modifications made on the infected Tor Browser, the cyber criminals could modify any add-on and it will be loaded by the browser without any issue about it failing its digital signature check.

Thus, users are exposed to a wide range of attacks. Users are targeted by a javascript payload that lets the infected Tor Browser swap original bitcoin addresses with that of the criminals. This happens once victims accesses their profile page in order to add fund their accounts using bitcoin.

ESET reports that the payloads have only be seen targeting Russian darknet markets

According to the Antivirus supplier, three bitcoin wallets containing several transactions were identified and have been in use since 2017.

The three wallets reportedly contain a total of 4.8 bitcoin which worth anything $40,000. However, ESET warned the stolen funds could be higher as the criminals also targeted QIWI wallets.

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Satoshi has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary

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The Oxford English Dictionary has officially added the meaning of Satoshi to its database.

Satoshi according to the dictionary published by Oxford University Press was defined as as a noun to be “The smallest monetary unit in the Bitcoin digital payment system, equal to one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.”

The Oxford English Dictionary had also added cryptocurrency to its database about five years after adding Bitcoin which it defined as “a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.”

Cryptocurrency was given two definitions one being

“An informal, substitute currency”

While the second definition presents a more general appeal. It defined cryptocurrency as “Any of various digital payment systems operating independently of a central authority and employing cryptographic techniques to control and verify transactions in a unique unit of account; (also) the units of account of such a system, considered collectively”

The addition was first published in September, 2019. The OED.com according to it, is a living text, and it is updated every three months.

About OED

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world.

The OED started life more than 150 years ago. Today, the dictionary is in the process of its first major revision. Updates revise and extend the OED at regular intervals, each time subtly adjusting our image of the English language.

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Amour Reports Show that Dark Web Criminals are Selling Cash for Bitcoin at Ridiculous Rates

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Cloud security provider, Armour releases a second annual research report which shows that unscrupulous persons are selling cash for Bitcoin on the Dark web at a ridiculously high rate.

Cash for pennies on the dollar

The researchers took time to make a thorough inspection of 12 different hacker Market place which spanned over a period of 20 weeks, and fully confirmed the exchange of Bitcoin for cash at pennies on the dollar. According to the report markets on the dark web are blooming despite the increasingly stringent restrictions they have been faced with.

This discovery about the use of Bitcoin to aid in the laundering of funds by criminals was of more concern to the crypto community. The report stated:

 

“One of the cleverest services spotted was where a criminal can pay a seller $800 in Bitcoin and have $10,000 transferred to a bank account of their choice or wired to them via Western Union, a seamless turn-key money laundering service.”

 

Although 12 cents on the dollar might come off as a really exploitative rate of exchange for illicitly acquired funds, the Armor report claims that would be an attractive offer for criminals with less experience

Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team, explained:

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive…this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.” He said.

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Bitcoin Was Facebook First Choice Before Libra – Bill Barhydt

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Bitcoin has revealed to be the first choice for Facebook’s cross border payment system. This revelation was made by Abra’s CEO Bill Barhydt. According to the CEO, Facebook wanted to integrate Bitcoin directly into its platform but that was not to be.

The decision to create Libra was informed by the unsuitability of the Bitcoin to support the volume of transactions which will flow through the Facebook’s ecosystem.

On June 16, 2019, Facebook released the Whitepaper of its cryptocurrency project revealing the Libra cryptocurrency and the Calibra wallet. This quickly created a wave of legitimacy to the cryptocurrency industry with clear evidence of the upshot of the prices of various cryptocurrencies with bitcoin notably rising upto $13,000.

In a Podcast hosted by Peter McCormack, in the interview, Barhydt revealed that Facebook had bitcoin as its first choice. This would have exposed the billions of users on its platforms to cryptocurrencies which the industry greatly desired. Mass adoption.

Creating Libra was a carefully thought out plan as indicated by Barhydt’s believe of the Facebook blockchain team whom he described as “These are smart people”

According to him, they have examined Lightning Network, Bitcoin and came to the conclusion that Bitcoin is not optimized to be a payment network instead it is best suitable to be a digital cash at the moment.

The inability of Bitcoin to scale so as to accommodate more transactions per seconds was the reason why the Bitcoin community saw a split in august 2017. Since no consensus was reached, Bitcoin divided into two with one faction deciding to increase the block size -Bitcoin Cash (BCH) whiles the other part retaining the original block size – Bitcoin Core (BTC).

Still facing stiff setbacks from scrutiny of regulators after it released its whitepaper despite the arsenal of powerful corporations in the Libra association, Facebook revealed in its whitepaper that Libra will launch in January 2020.

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